2021 KOSUKE KITAJIMA CUP
- Friday, January 22nd – Sunday, January 24th
- Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre
- LCM (50m)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Initial Entries (in Japanese)
Japan’s Katsuo (Katsuhiro) Matsumoto already made history by becoming the first man from his nation to medal in the 200m freestyle at a World Championships. But now the 23-year-old has leveled up to a new tier of competition in the event, firing off a shiny new national record to kick-off his 2021 racing calendar.
While competing on day 1 of the 2021 Kosuke Kitajima Cup, an annual domestic meet in Tokyo known for wicked-quick performances, Matsumoto blasted a winning 200m free effort of 1:45.13. That not only took the gold in a huge lifetime best, but it also lowered his own national record of 1:45.22, the time it took for him to win silver behind China’s Sun Yang in Gwangju.
Splitting 51.18/53.95, Matsumoto beat the field tonight by over 3 seconds en route slicing .09 off of that 2019 World Championships effort. Although his time dips under the stiff Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated qualification time of 1:45.76 needed to compete at home Games this summer, Matsumoto will need to replicate the effort at the sole Olympic-qualifying meet of the Japan Swim in April.
Matsumoto’s result now bumps him up to sit just inside the list of top 20 performers all-time in the LCM 200 free.
The man still has .14 to go before he gets into 1:44 territory, a coveted club with members to the tune of Michael Phelps, Yannick Agnel, Paul Biedermann*, Ian Thorpe, Danas Rapsys and Ryan Lochte. But dropping this kind of performance with the Olympic Trials not yet until April is a very good sign for Japanese freestyle fans.
Matsumoto takes over as the top swimmer in the world in this men’s 2free event this season, setting himself apart by over half a second.